Pedro Diniz

Pedro Diniz

22/5/1970

From the fifth wealthiest family in Brasil, Diniz participated in 99 grands prix, debuting on March 26, 1995, scoring a total of 10 championship points. His best result was a fifth in the the Luxembourg Grand Prix for Arrows in 1997.

<br /> Pedro Paulo Diniz was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, into one of the wealthiest families in the country. His father, who also used to race, owned the Pao de Acucar supermarket chain and the CBD distribution company.

This proved invaluable as he was able to secure sponsorship from Parmalat who stuck with him throughout his career.

Pedro began kart racing in 1987 and two years later moved to Formula Ford in Brazil. In 1990 he raced in the Sud-Am F3 series before heading to Europe in 1991 to race in British F3 with West Surrey Racing team. Racing along side Rubens Barrichello and Jordi Gene showed that he still had much to learn and for 1992 he moved to Edenbridge Racing and did much better.

So in 1993 he moved up to Formula 3000 with Forti Corse. Once again he failed to shine but did take one fourth-place finish at Estoril in 1994.

With his Parmalat sponsorship he stayed with Forti as they moved into Formula One alongside Roberto Moreno. He actually drove quite well, occasionally out qualifying his more experienced team mate. However, the car was hopelessly uncompetitive so for 1996 he took his money to Ligier and Tom Walkinshaw where he scored two sixth places in Spain and Italy.

His most memorable moment of the year came in the Argentine Grand Prix when he narrowly escaped an inferno caused by his Ligier's fuel tank leaking. The horrifying photos and headlines, such as "Diniz in the Oven" printed in teh Sun, captured the world’s attention,

In 1997 he went with Walkinshaw when the later took over Arrows. Pedro's Parmalat money helping to cover teammate Damon Hill's salary as well as Arrows’ new factory. Diniz suprised a few people, outqualifying him at the challenging Spa circuit in Belgium and beating him on the track a number of times. His best result of the year was a fifth in the Luxembourg Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

In 1998 Hill left and was replaced by Mika Salo. Pedro once again did well and ended the season with the same number of points as his highly rated team mate after scoring points at the two classic circuits of Monaco and Spa.

He moved on to Sauber in 1999 with Jean Alesi. He scored three points to Alesi's two and survived a huge accident at the start of the European GP. A second season at Sauber, now teamed with Salo again, resulted in no points and Diniz was left without a drive for 2001.

The Diniz family decided to buy 40% of the Prost Grand Prix operation with Pedro taking on a management role. However the family fell out with Alain Prost. Diniz then concentrated on promoting Formula Renault in South America.

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